Halloween is coming, so there are plenty of low-scare activities for your tots. Check out events like Pinkalicious: The Musical in Toms River a comedy show filled with songs, dance and life lessons, or head to Hoboken’s Harvest Festival for a variety of activities like inflatables, face painting and pony rides to keep your kids entertained. But the real Halloween highlight is DiDonato’s Trick-or-Treat Train in Hammonton, which’ll take your family on a tour through a goblin-filled town, then go bowling and play 3-D golf. And if you’re looking to entertain the kids without breaking your budget, check out these free things to do in October.
GET YOUR HALLOWEEN ON
Bring your lil’ munchkins to DiDonato’s Trick-or-Treat Train for a Halloween-themed train ride on weekends from October 5-27 in Hammonton. The kids can get their faces painted, pick a pumpkin from the patch, hit the hay maze, go bowling, try 3-D glow-in-the-dark mini golf and more ($12.95/online, $14.60/door). On October 6, celebrate the Fall Harvest and the season of the witch at the Whippany Railway Museum. Enter the cab of a 112-year-old steam locomotive and sit in the engineer’s seat to blow the whistle and ring the bell ($11-19). If you aren’t able to make it, come back on October 20 for a 10-mile, 45-minute round-trip ride aboard the Halloween Express. In Clinton from October 12-26, Happy Haunts will have pumpkins, donuts and cider, face painting, hay rides and ghoul-free fun ($10). Keep the spirit of the season going at Teeny Tiny Trail Tales in Chatham Twp. for nature-themed tales along decorated trails on October 26. Come in costume, too ($3)! If you’re near Morristown on the same day, head to the Morristown Museum for Chemistry Day: Halloween Fun. Come in costume (there’ll be a parade!) for a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt, science experiments and crafting (included in admission). Pull on your costumes and get your trick-or-treat on at WheatonArts in Millville on October 27 for HalloWheaton. You’ll be able to snap photos with characters like the Mummy, Grymm Witches, the Too-Tall Scarecrow and others (free).
VISIT A MUSEUM
Step back in time for a look in the past featuring different types of dinosaurs that roamed the Earth during the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. On October 2, all ages can visit at Rutgers University’s Geology Museum in New Brunswick. If dinosaurs aren’t your kids’ thing, explore their inner Picasso instead on Sundays all month long at the Monmouth Museum. Kids can make arts and crafts using recyclable materials, hit the planetarium to learn about constellations and listen to story time in the WonderWing. Mark your calendar for October 26 when the Miller-Cory House Museum celebrate some Halloween Hocus Pocus. There’ll be a scavenger hunt, crafts, storytelling and cupcake decorating.
SPARK THEIR IMAGINATION
Designed for the Hoboken Fire Department Museum’s youngest guests, this free 30-minute storytime on the first Sunday of every month includes stories and songs about city life. Head to the Warren County Library for Little Explorer Story Time every Wednesday for stories and crafts with Miss Lindsay and Karen H. If you’re looking to mix it up, stop by on October 18 for Scooby Doo Crafts, which includes watching classic episodes of the show while working on a matching craft. Registration is required. On October 12, have a crafternoon at the Eclectic Chic Boutique in Montclair at the Mommy and Me Upcycled Crayon Workshop. Learn to take used and broken crayons and turn them into new crayons with fun shapes and swirled colors. Registration required.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
On October 5, RVCC in Branchburg is hosting a sensory-friendly light show called The Sky Above, which features videos of planets, moons and constellations plus laser lights to add to the learning experience. On October 12, Pinkalicious: The Musical returns to the Jay and Linda Grunin Center in Toms River. Pinkalicious can’t stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents, and comes down with a bad case of Pinkititis. The kids will be at the edge of their seats as she tries to find a cure. Have an ARTrageous time at this interactive art and music experience at Kean Stage in Union on October 21. At this shows, artists utilize bold colors and aim to complete their paintings using musical inspiration before the band finishes playing.
Head to Pier A Park on October 19 for Hoboken’s Harvest Festival. The kids will love the inflatables, pony rides, petting zoo, horse and carriage rides, pumpkin and face painting, trackless train and more. Take a stroll down Main St. from October 19-20 for Chester’s 36th Annual Harvest Celebration. Spend your weekend square dancing, pumpkin painting, listening to music and checking out activities like an antique apple press demo, the Ford V-8 Antique Car Show, a pumpkin weigh-in and a meet-and-greet with NBC celebrity Produce Pete. Apple Cidering is a great fall tradition to start with your family. On October 27, visit the Great Swamp OEC in Chatham Twp. to make homemade apple cider using an old-fashioned, hand-cranked cider press while learning fun facts about apples.
Do you know any other places in NJ to take preschoolers in October? Let us know in the comments!